And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
I. A whole paragraph is devoted to the delineation of one man's life, while so many great subjects are hardly touched upon in the Christian Scriptures. Yet let us not complain of what looks to us like capriciousness and incompleteness of Divine revelation, for in these portrayals of individuals we have not only the most practical aspects of the Christian faith, but we get nearer to God than would otherwise have been possible.
II. Zacchæus sought to see Jesus through natural curiosity, yet such curiosity may be turned to the highest uses; Zacchæus only sought to see the Man, but in the end he saw the Saviour; he desired to see a wonder, in the end he was made into a wonder himself.
III. Zacchæus would never have been chief among the publicans, and been rich, if he had succumbed to difficulties. His character was brought out by opposition. I contend that, what ever a man's disadvantages may be, he can see Jesus Christ if he so determine in his heart.
IV. Jesus Christ looked, saw, and said. When Christians look and see and say, there will go forth into the world such an evangelising commission as never yet sought the recovery of men.
V. "He made haste, and came down, and received Him joyfully." This is a striking harmony with all that we have seen of Zacchæus. The man who could run and climb was just the man to make haste in coming down, and to give a joyful answer to such an appeal. Zacchæus would never have known himself if he had not first known Jesus Christ. It is ever noteworthy that by contact with the Saviour men become greater, and to their fuller strength is added all the charm of generosity. In this case there is a noticeable combination of liberality and justice; the poor and the wronged alike feel the blessed influence of this man's renewal. All with whom he had to do were the better for his having received Jesus Christ into his heart.
Parker, City Temple, 1870, p. 74.
References: Luke 19:1.—T. T. Lynch, Sermons for My Curates, p. 71. Luke 19:1-10.—H. Scott Holland, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxviii., p. 373. R. Rainy, Ibid., vol. xiii., p. 296; Homilist, vol. vii., p. 332, Ibid., new series, vol. i., p. 130. Luke 19:3.—Sermons for Boys and Girls, p. 194; Parker, Cavendish Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 302. Luke 19:5.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes: Gospels and Acts, p. 104; Ibid., Sermons, vol. ii., No. 73. Luke 19:7.—Ibid., vol. xxii., No. 1,319.
Luke 19:9I. Zacchæus was, humanly speaking, in as unfavourable a situation for turning to God, as anyone could be at that time. He was one of a set of men who might emphatically be called "that which is lost." And, therefore, when we find our Lord saying of this man, "This day is salvation come to this house," for that "he also is a son of Abraham," it is impossible not to perceive the freeness and fulness of the grace of the Gospel, which—at once, with no long probation of penitence or trial required—at once, forgiving all the past and trusting for the future; declares to the lost sinner that He was was one of Abraham's children, and partaker therefore of Abraham's blessing.
II. This is so true that to deny it were to deny the very foundation of the Gospel. But in giving this statement, I have not yet given the whole picture contained in the account of Zacchæus, and what remains is no less essential. The forgiveness was entire and immediate, because the repentance had been no less unhesitating and no less entire. Zacchæus "sought to see Jesus"—we know not with how much of mere curiosity, nor with what an imperfect knowledge; but he sought and took pains to see Him; and He who is found by all that seek Him, said immediately, "Zacchæus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house." But when Christ was come to him, when his first imperfect desires for good had been so largely blessed, then the love of Christ constrained him, and with no reserves, with no hesitation, he gave up all his heart to Him. He cares not for the sacrifice; he does not ask whether strict justice required so large a measure of restitution—much less whether the law was ever likely to enforce it; but he wishes to free himself wholly from the accursed thing, unlawful gain; he wishes to judge himself, that he be not judged of the Lord; he cannot bear that any portion of sin or sinful profit should remain in that heart and house which Christ and Christ's Spirit had deigned to visit. So, then, no less complete and unreserved than the gift of the Gospel forgiveness is the feeling and the act of Christian repentance. Here, then, we find the Gospel in all its entireness; we see what is meant by forgiveness and also what is meant by repentance. Let our repentance be as full, as reserved, as immediate, as that of Zacchæus; and this day, yea this hour, is salvation come into our house, and it is proved that we also are sons of Abraham.
T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. vi., p. 117.
References: Luke 19:9.—H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, Waterside Mission Sermons, 2nd series, No. viii.; S. A. Tipple, Echoes of Spoken Words, p. 71.
Luke 19:10The Redeemer's Errand to this World.
I. We find in our text Christ's estimate of the condition of humanity. It is something that is lost. Man is a lost thing. You may look at him in many lights. He is a toiling, hardworking creature. He is an anxious, careworn creature. But for the Redeemer's purpose, the characteristic that surmounted and included and leavened and ran through all the rest, was, that he is a lost creature. All error from the right way; all distance from our heavenly Father's house; all destitution and danger and impossibility of return, and imminence of final ruin, are conveyed in that one word, lost. Trace that word's meaning out into its various shades and ramifications, and you will find that it implies, as no other can, all that we are; all that makes our need of the Saviour—His sacrifice, His Spirit, His intercession.
II. The text reminds us of what the blessed Redeemer did for us in our lost estate. He came to seek and save us. The world, so to speak, pushed itself into notice when it fell. Ah! the little planet might have circled round the sun, happy and holy; and never been singled out from the bright millions of which it is the least. But as it is, perhaps this fallen world's name may be on the lips of angels, and in the thoughts of races that never sinned. We, when lost, as it might seem, in hopeless loss, were singled out thereby for the grandest, most precious, most glorious blessing that, so far as we know, was ever given by the Almighty. The Son of God left the glories of heaven to die for us. The Son of Man came to seek and save that which was lost. It is, indeed, a mysterious thing, a thing not to be wholly explained by human wit, that the Son of God stood by till man had lost himself, and then came, at cost of painful quests, to seek and save him; when we might think He could so easily have kept man from wandering at all. May we not think that, apart from those grand, inscrutable reasons which the Almighty has for permitting the entrance of evil into His universe—those reasons which no man knows—the fact of the peculiar interest and pleasure which are felt in an evil remedied, a spoiled thing mended, a lost thing found, a wrong thing righted, may cast some light upon the nature of the Divine feeling toward the world and our race? When all evil that can be remedied is done away with, may not this world seem better to its Almighty Maker's eye, than even when He beheld it, all very good, upon the evening of the sixth day?
A. K. H. B., Counsel and Comfort from a City Pulpit, p. 180.
The conventional religionists of our Lord's time were very much shocked and scandalised at His manner of life. It was sufficiently surprising that He should be found so frequently in the society of peasants, and of women, and of children, instead of courting the patronage of the wealthy and the great; but it was perfectly outrageous that He should have become the friend of thieves and harlots;—and these respectable persons very frequently expressed their astonishment and their indignation at His strange conduct. And Jesus said to them, "They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." They had never grasped the fact that Christ was a great Physician, and that His business was not to go to those who were in perfect health, but to go to those who were ill; and, first of all, to those whose case was most desperate.
I. Now in this Christ has left you and me an example that we should walk in His steps; and if we have the mind of Christ we shall follow the wandering sheep into the wilderness, and shall never rest until we find it. Our business is to go to the prodigal sons of God, and to persuade them to come home again; and, however far off they are, we must follow them to the distant country, and we must refuse to come back without them.
II. It is a remarkable thing in this parable that Christ makes no provision for defeat. He does not say what we are to do if they refuse to come in. He takes it for granted that we must overcome if we are in earnest. Christ everywhere assumes that we shall not fail. It was said by a great Latin historian of Alexander the Great that the secret of his marvellous victories, by which the world was brought to his feet, was this: he wisely dared to think nothing of imaginary dangers. All sorts of reports reached him with regard to the difficulties of invading Asia, and so forth, but he put them all on one side. The devil is always ready to exhibit a few ghosts of difficulties to terrify weak saints. Let us despise the ghosts; there is nothing in them. We cannot fail if our heart is full of love to God, and of sympathy with our fellow-Christians. The only real hindrance to the progress of the Gospel is unbelief in the form of downright selfishness.
H. P. Hughes, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxvi., p. 184.
References: Luke 19:10.—F. W. Robertson, Sermons, 2nd series, p. 190; Parker, Cavendish Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 268; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iv., No. 204; vol. xix., No. 1100. Luke 19:11.—T. T. Lynch, Sermons for My Curates, p. 103. Luke 19:11-27.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. xiv., p. 105; Preacher's Monthly, vol. i., pp. 387, 385; vol. viii., p. 233; R. C. Trench, Notes on the Parables, p. 511. Luke 19:12-27.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 490; H. Calderwood, The Parables, p. 427; A. B. Bruce, The Training of the Twelve, p. 273.
Luke 19:13We have four things here, which, keeping to the metaphor of the text, I may designate as the Capital, the Business, the Profits, and the Audit.
I. The Capital. A pound was a very little thing for a prince who was going to get a kingdom to leave with his servants to trade upon. The smallness of the gift is, I think, an essential part of the representation. May it not be intended to point out to us this lesson—how small after all, even the high gift that we all receive alike here is, in comparison with what we are destined to receive when the kingdom comes? Even the salvation that is in Jesus Christ, as it is at present experienced on earth, is but like the one poor pound that was given to the servants, as compared with the unspeakable wealth that shall be theirs—the ten cities, the five cities, and all the glories of supremacy and sovereignty, when He comes.
II. Now a word about the Trading. You Christian men and women ought to make your Christian life and your Christian service a matter of business. Put the same virtues into it that some of you put into your trade. Your best business in this world, as the Shorter Catechism has it, is to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever. And the salvation that you have got you have to trade upon, to make a business of, to work it out, in order that, by working it out, by living upon it, and living by it, applying its principles to daily life, and seeking to spread it among other people, it may increase and fructify in your hands.
III. The Profits. The immediate results are in direct correspondence and proportion to the immediate activity and diligence. The truths that you live by, you will believe more because you live by them. The faculties that you employ in Christ's service will grow and increase by reason of your employment of them.
IV. The Audit. "Till I come; "or, "Whilst I am coming." As if all through the ages the king was coming, coming nearer. We have to work as remembering that everyone of us shall give an account of himself and his trading unto the Proprietor when He comes back.
A. Maclaren, Christian Commonwealth, Sept. 2nd, 1886.
References: Luke 19:13.—J. Vaughan, Sermons, 9th series, p. 5; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 142; Ibid., vol. viii., p. 264; Preacher's Monthly, vol. vi., p. 225; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. v., p. 271. Luke 19:14.—H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xix., p. 154.
Luke 19:17There is a principle in this award which regulates God's dealings with us in either world. And it is this—the ground and secret of all increase is faithfulness. And we may all rejoice that this is the rule of God's moral gifts, for had anything else except faithfulness been made the condition, many would have been unable—or, at least, would have thought themselves unable—to advance at all. But faithfulness is in everybody's power; it is a simple, practical, everyday thing.
I. But what is faithfulness? A serious sense of responsibility leading to exactness in the discharge of duty; or the recognition of our accountability to our own conscience; or a feeling of having been entrusted with anything by God producing a desire to use it as He intended, that He may be glorified. (1) Faithfulness to convictions. So long as a man has not silenced them by sin, the heart is full of still, small voices, speaking to him everywhere. So long as a man has not by rough treatment severed them, the heart is full of little secret cords which are always drawing him. Those are convictions. Be faithful to them; for if you are unfaithful, they will get weaker and weaker, fewer and fewer, till they go out. (2) Faithfulness in little things to men. (a) It is of the utmost importance that you be scrupulously accurate and just in all your most trivial transactions of honour and business with your fellow-creatures. Do not imagine there is no religion in these things; no man's soul will prosper who is not a rigidly honest man—honest in the minutiæ; (b) The acquisition and use of influence are great matters of faithfulness.
II. Faithfulness determines increase. To employ well the present is to command the future. The growth of your soul hangs upon its own fidelity; and more love, more joy, more peace, more presence, more Christ—are given to those who, day by day, are true to the love, the joy, the peace, the presence, the Christ, which they already have. And that for two reasons: (1) The natural law, which pervades all nature, that growth is the offspring of exercise; (2) the sovereign will of a just God to increase the gifts of those who use them.
J. Vaughan, Sermons, 1868, p. 149.
References: Luke 19:17.—A. P. Peabody, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xii., p. 127; D. G. Watt, Ibid., vol. xxviii., p. 77; J. Vaughan, Sermons, 8th series, p. 228
Luke 19:20-26"To him that hath shall be given.".
I. The excuse of the slothful servant is the excuse of all lazy people. They cry themselves down lest they should be called upon to work; they avoid the duties of life till the world forgets to ask them to fulfil their duties, though God does not forget. They glide through a useless existence to a forgotten death, having buried themselves before they are buried by man, and they think that their sloth shall be continued beyond the grave—that they shall sleep there an eternal sleep; for what hope or faith in endless life can these dead men possess? But they are rudely awakened in the world to come. They find themselves standing before the tribunal of the Lord of utility, the Master of work. He asks for His own with usury. We have here in the parable a particular instance of this class of person, especially applicable to the Pharisee of the period. What was the reason this one-talented man had drifted into idleness and uselessness? One might call it a religious reason; he had gone on arguing about the nature of God, losing himself in speculations as to the character and work of God, instead of making use of what God had given him, till he finally arrived at doing nothing. These are the men and women who make the secularist objection of some weight—that thinking of insoluble questions, as they are called, unfits a man for life and work. The objection is fairly made against persons of this kind. For to such the questions will ever remain insoluble. Action, not speculation, finds out God. It is love and justice wrought out in life, not intellectual discussion and argument, which bring heaven near.
II, Let us pass on to the judgment. "Give it to him that hath ten talents." At first sight it seems strange that he that has most should have more; and it was thus it struck the standers-by. "Lord, he hath ten talents." On the contrary, it was strict justice; the sentence was, first, in full accordance with the wisdom we derive from our observations of men; and, secondly, with the laws of the working of the universe. It was a mere sentimental objection. Take, first, that side of it which had to do with the slothful servant. Why take from him his one talent with which he had done no harm? Give it back to him, and let him have another chance. The man who has ten talents has enough already. Yes, he will have another chance when his character has changed, but it will have to be changed by punishment, not by weak tenderness. He must be made to feel his uselessness, forced to alter his view of God and of himself, or else all the giving in the world is only doing men harm. To him that hath it is given. Grace is born from grace; to him who has love more love is given; he who is true can assimilate more truth; he who is pure deepens in purity; and by the working of this law the world is blessed, for the best is given to those who can use it best.
S. A. Brooke, Sermons, 2nd series, p. 125.
References: Luke 19:20.—H. W. Beecher, Sermons, vol. xxxi., p. 149; J. N. Norton, The King's Ferry-boat, p. 102.
Luke 19:21The Religion of Fear.
Such was the account, the only account, which a person could give why he had loved a useless, and because a useless a wrecked, life. There was indeed in his wickedness a strange inconsistency and contradiction. For he who could say, and truly say, as the secret of his whole life, "I feared Thee," was nevertheless the man to stand up with a most shameless effrontery, and say to the God whom he dreaded, words too insolent to be used to a fellow-man. So exceedingly remote may fear be from reverence; so easily may dread make common cause with daring.
I. You will observe that this man in the parable did not fear God because God was great and lofty and holy. Had his fear rested on that ground, probably he would not have been much blamed; or more probably still, his mind would not have been allowed to remain in that state. He did not, in fact, fear God for anything which God really is, he feared God for what God is not. And here was at once the nature of his fear and its guilt—it arose from false views of God, for which the man was responsible. There are three results which appear to me almost inevitable from a hard, cold religion of fear. It is sure to make religion a separate thing from life. The religion of that man will be a parenthesis;—religion the act, the world the feeling; religion a necessity, the world a delight; religion shadowy, the world real; religion an accident, the world the man. It is all summed up in the history of the ancient Samaritans: "They feared the Lord, and served their own gods."
II. The service of fear is sure to produce cunning. I see it again in the owner of the buried talent. He had not love or principle enough to do what he was told—"Occupy till I come." But there must be something for him to show, and something for him to say when his Master comes back. Therefore he just does what costs him nothing, and makes up by stratagem for what he leaves undone.
III. Fear paralyses energy. It was a true chain which the man drew. "I did nothing because I was afraid." There is an awful negativeness about fear, a solitude, a desolation. The fact is, we all work up towards a final idea—but if there is no final idea, what shall we work up to? Take away that final idea, and life in its immortality ceases to be.
J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 7th series, p. 240.
References: Luke 19:22-32.—W. Hubbard, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 378. Luke 19:26.—T. Hammond, Ibid., vol. xv., p. 113. Luke 19:28.—Homilist, vol. v., p. 502. Luke 19:29.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 136. Luke 19:29-44.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. i., p. 263. Luke 19:29-48.—A. B. Bruce, The Training of the Twelve, p. 328. Luke 19:30-40.—Parker, Cavendish Pulpit, vol. i., p. 121 Luke 19:37.—J. Keble, Sermons from Advent to Christmas Eve, p. 1. Luke 19:37-40.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xii., No. 678; Homilist, vol. vi., p. 272. Luke 19:40.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 83; E. Maclean, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiv., p. 5.
Luke 19:41I. It is interesting and instructive to notice in this passage how the Lord regards men—both in their corporate and their individual capacities. He made us, and He knows what is in man. He knows that each immortal stands on His own feet, and must meet with God alone, as far as regards all the rest of humanity. But He knows and recognises also, that we are made with social instincts and faculties, that we cannot exercise the functions of our nature without society; and that we are all affected deeply by our intercourse with others, both as regards our time and our eternity. In one aspect, each man stands or falls for himself alone; in another aspect, we grasp each other, and, like the victims of a shipwreck, either help to sink or help to save one another. It is in the latter aspect that our Lord regarded the inhabitants of Jerusalem as He looked on them across the glen from the neighbouring mountain's brow. They were brethren in iniquity. Hand was joining in hand in preparation for the highest crime ever done in the universe. They were leagued in a dark covenant to crucify the Son of God. Looking down on Jerusalem, and making great lamentation over it, the ground of His grief was, not that they had sinned and so brought on themselves condemnation—in that there was nothing peculiar to Jerusalem;—what makes Him weep is, that they will not accept redemption at His hands.
II. "In this thy day"—Jerusalem had a day. Every community and every person has a day—a day of mercy. If in that day the lost shall turn they shall get life in the Lord. But if they allow their day to pass, there remaineth only darkness—"a fearful looking for of judgment." "The things which belong unto thy peace." The things which God had fixed in the eternal covenant, and revealed in the fulness of time, were things that Jerusalem did not know. Like the wayside, hard, trodden ground, they did not open their hearts to take in the seed of the Word. The lesson that we learn from the text is this: that Jesus, the Author and Possessor and Giver of eternal redemption to the lost, rejoices when they accept His gift, and weeps over them when they neglect it.
W. Arnot, The Anchor of the Soul, p. 326.
References: Luke 19:41.—J. Greenhough, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxii., p. 291; Parker, Christian Commonwealth, vol. vii., p. 611; Church of England Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 369; C. Kingsley, Discipline and other Sermons, p. 290; Homilist, vol. vi., p. 104; Ibid., 3rd series, vol. i., p. 156; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvi., No. 1570; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 92; J. Armstrong, Parochial Sermons, p. 28; J. Keble. Sermons for Sundays after Trinity, part i., p. 353; H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, Waterside Mission Sermons, No. xx.; Ibid., The Life of Duty, vol. ii., p. 85; W. G. Horder, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxix., p. 152; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iii., p. 21.
Luke 19:41-42I. In the case before us spiritual indifference was the sign of concealed ruin.
II. While spiritual indifference conceals the downward course of the soul's life, it at the same time hides the Christ who alone can save.
III. In spiritual indifference Christ saw: (1) A self-wrought ruin; (2) ruin rapidly becoming hopeless.
E. L. Hull, Sermons, 3rd series, p. 181.
References: Luke 19:41, Luke 19:42.—J. Vaughan, Sermons, 7th series, p. 143; G. Calthrop, Pulpit Recollections, p. 86; C. Kingsley, Town and Country Sermons, p. 237; Church of England Pulpit, vol. vii., p. 238; Homilist, new series, vol. i., p. 522. Luke 19:41-44.—H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxix., p. 233; Ibid., Forty-eight Sermons, vol. i., p. 359. Luke 19:43, Luke 19:44.—W. C. E. Newbolt, Counsels of Faith and Practice, p. 229.
Luke 19:44To the account which St. Matthew gives of our Lord's entry into Jerusalem, St. Luke adds the passage of which these words are part. Let us take them home to ourselves in the trial which is ever going on of our own lives. The day of visitation, we may be sure, comes in one shape or another to us all. Not to know the time of our visitation means not to recognise the significance and the bearing of those trials for which we live, which search our hearts and test their soundness. It is not to know when God gives us some fresh opportunity of good, not to be alive to the openings and the secret leadings which come to us all in due season for a decisive step in the higher choice of a higher life; not to recognise when the time comes, as it comes to all, which is meant especially to suit our necessities, to offer us a door of escape, to encourage and assist us in doing some good thing for God.
I. There is one kind of visitation which many of us are going through now, as real as if we had to make up our minds, or take our side in some difficult question of right or wrong, in some critical decision as to whether we will walk in the ways of evil or of good. How many of us are leading a quiet and peaceful life, an uninterrupted life, without anything greatly to disturb or trouble us—no great sorrow, no great pain, no great fear, no great disadvantage to struggle with, no great care to weigh us down? There are the common temptations and burdens which belong to the lot of all men; but these surely are little to speak of when we think what other men have had—have now—to go through; what might have come upon us, and has not. And in this kind of life we go on undisturbed, it may be, from year to year. But there are two things to be remembered. One is, that without superstitiously vexing ourselves with the misgiving that God does bring evil upon us in proportion to good, it yet is obviously true that all this quiet cannot go on as it is for ever, that we must expect some time or other, some of the severer trials of life; that it is not likely that we should always escape pain, or vexation, or sickness so entirely, at least, as we are doing now. We are still men, and under the covenant of sickness and death. This is one thing; and the other, and even more important, is this—this time of quiet is a time of visitation. In this time of peace and regular work, and quiet days and nights of sweet sleep, He is trying us, He is training us, and He is giving us time to fit ourselves, insensibly it may be, to meet the harsher ways of His Providence. Surely it is but too easy in the midst of peace and mercy to forget the great seriousness of life, where we are going, whom we have to deal with, what He has given us to do, whom we shall meet when we are dead, how we shall give an account of what we have had and enjoyed. And if we let all this slip out of mind we are missing our day, we are hearing the call of God without heeding, we are failing under our appointed trial, the trial of God's loving tenderness, just as if the trial were one of severity and sorrow, and suffering, and we were murmuring. The time of our visitation is upon us and we are not knowing it.
II. One word more. Without frightening ourselves with fears and fancies, which in the shape in which we dwell upon them, will probably never be realised, it is likely that we shall all of us have to be troubled in one way or another. If it is now with us a time of peace and quiet, now is the time to fit ourselves to meet trouble if it should come—not by foolishly vexing ourselves about it, but by arming ourselves with that faith and trust in God, those steady regular habits of relying upon Him, and committing ourselves to His hand, which will alone help us, alone keep us up when the weather changes and the storm begins to rise. Now you have no pain to take off your thoughts, to weaken your bodies, to cloud your faculties, now you have no bitterness of sorrow to fill your heart; you have time to think, to learn, to consider, to give calm attention to what most concerns your peace. If this be your lot, if this is the manner of your visitation, see that you recognise it, and see that you do not waste it and trifle it away.
R. W. Church, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxviii., p. 353.
References: Luke 19:44.—H. P. Liddon, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xx., p. 113; J. Keble, Sermons for Sundays after Trinity, part i., p. 333.
Luke 19:45-46The Cleansing of the Temple.
In this passage we notice:—
I. Our Lord's zeal—that zeal of which the Psalmist said, speaking prophetically: "The zeal of Thine house hath even eaten me." Let Christ our Lord be in this as in other things a pattern to us; let the honour of God be with us a governing principle; if the command of God be clear one way, then, even though everybody be on the other side, let us have the courage to take our stand on His command. And perhaps a little more courage on our part would be rewarded with the same kind of victory which our Lord obtained; men's consciences were convinced and they yielded to His word, and so I think it will frequently happen in our time.
II. Again, the conduct of our Lord shows us the reverence that is due to God's house. The Jewish Temple was emphatically a house of prayer; it was a place where God had promised His special presence to those who came to worship; and whatever honour was due to the Temple, as the house of God and the place of prayer, is due to the Christian Church. The tables of money-changers must not be here; this is no place for thoughts of gain, it is a profanation of God's Temple to bring them here. Christ would not allow any money-dealings in the Temple of old, and He will not allow them here; wherefore we should remember that all thoughts of worldly profit are to be left outside the Church porch. This is no place for them—this is a house of prayer, the house of God.
III. We are reminded by our Lord's cleansing of the Temple in the days of His flesh of that awful cleansing of His Temple which will one day take place, when all that is vile and offensive shall be cast out of His Temple, and everything that maketh a lie cast into the lake of brimstone. Let each one of us ask himself: "Will Christ, when He comes to judgment say of me, 'Take this man hence'?"
Bishop Harvey Goodwin, Parish Sermons, 1st series, p. 292.
References: Luke 19:45, Luke 19:46.—H. P. Liddon, Christian World Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 27. Luke 19:45-48.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 181; Preacher's Monthly, vol. v., p. 141. Luke 19:46.—G. Brooks, Five Hundred Outlines of Sermons, p. 255. Luke 19:48.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. i., p. 36. Luke 20:4.—Ibid., vol. v., p. 31; Homiletic Magazine, vol. x., p. 99. Luke 20:9-17.—Ibid., vol. vii. p. 40. Luke 20:9-18.—H. Calderwood, The Parables, p. 317; A. B. Bruce, The Parabolic Teaching of Christ, p. 447. Luke 20:18.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. i., p. 362. Luke 20:20.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 97. Luke 20:24.—J. E. Vaux, Sermon Notes, 3rd series, p. 54.
And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
(And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.
And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,
Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.
And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.
And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.
And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?
And they said, The Lord hath need of him.
And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.
And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.
And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,
And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.